Scotland Yardie by Bobby Joseph and Joseph Samuels
|Scotland Yardie by Bobby Joseph and Joseph Samuels|
|Category: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A great and ribald look at race matters in the London police, from an author with a solid sense of humour and an artist with at least one eye for detail.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 100||Date: January 2017|
Things are grim in London. 'People of colour' can no longer stand at a bus stop or cross the road without white cops shooting them down, and planting drugs and guns on them. Heaven help them if their satnav leads them past certain corrupt coppers. But obviously one of the problems there is that there are no black police, so to encourage their growth Boris has built Jamaica a prison, and borrowed their finest – Scotland Yardie, a dreadlocked and heavily-armed skunkhead rasta. It's purely thought of as a PR exercise, but Yardie knows different. When you add on a mystery regarding a new chain of chicken shops, and the nasty cops, he has his work cut out. Seen?
I'll try and ignore all the black stereotypes thrust on these pages; it's not my place to borrow them. Nor would it be enough for the Afro-Caribbean creators here to borrow them either, if they weren't funny with it. But they are. Yardie's partner, the best black policeman in London, looks like Howard from those Halifax ads – and despite his daydreams is as butch and worthwhile as Ainsley Harriott. Blacks here have the propensity to diss anyone, like crap clothes, love the aforementioned chicken – everything Daily Mail readers would have thought was honest reality, and not caricature.
Yes, self-deprecation is everywhere, as well as so many minor details – these are pages for reading in full, not just glancing over, as you'll see in cinema signs, shop frontages, and in the faces of the passing white people – here's The Prodigy walking along, there's Bill Turnbull and that Brummie oik off The One Show, and David Tennant as both Doctor Who and in Broadchurch. Well, that's the thing – all us white guys and gyals all look the same.
All this frivolous (mis-)use of models from both communities forces current references on to the page, all belying the character's creation decades ago for some zine from the 1990s. Needless to say, this is a brand new full-length story, and despite being utterly bonkers, is completely coherent. You ignore the talking animals and their hatred of police, you pass over the tabloid-baiting piss-taking, and you slide easily into the nature of the piece. I've seen so many books and comic strips based on anything-goes frivolity, that hang together like a skeleton on a washing line – all good intentions at the core, but no flesh and certainly no brains. This has all that and a fine sense of humour, and even if the ending doesn't quite show as much brilliance as the beginning I pretty much loved it. And if you disagree, I'll do that tongue-meets-palate Tchya tic of disapproval at you.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
For more from the zines, if you've the stomach for it there is Krent Able's Big Book of Mischief.
You can read more book reviews or buy Scotland Yardie by Bobby Joseph and Joseph Samuels at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Scotland Yardie by Bobby Joseph and Joseph Samuels at Amazon.com.
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